The Baylor Bears are fast becoming the Oregon Ducks of the Southwest … emphasis on “fast.”
Yep, those green-and-gold blurs zipping up and down the field at a frenetic pace, scoring points quicker than the scoreboard operator can keep up, are no longer just in Eugene, Ore.
In fact, 19th-ranked Baylor is one-upping second-ranked Oregon.
The Bears, one of the quickest teams around, lead the nation in scoring at 69.7 points per game; the Ducks are second at 61.3. The Bears are No. 1 in total offense with 751.3 yards per game; the Ducks are No. 2 at 672.0. And the Bears have the Ducks nailed in passing yardage, 444.3 to 316.7.
“The strange thing is we’re not really looking at those numbers and saying, ‘Wow.’ ” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “We’re looking at it like we need to execute better. We’re looking at it like we’re just getting going.
“We will keep improving as an offense. Then again, we’ll step way up in competition level as conference play begins.”
Torching Wofford 69-3, Buffalo 70-13 and Louisiana-Monroe 70-7 does not make Baylor a national contender, but Louisiana-Monroe, a bowl team last year and the Sun Belt Conference favorite this season, held Oklahoma to 34 points on Aug. 31.
“Baylor creates bad matchups for you all over the field,” ULM coach Todd Berry told reporters. “We had to take chances, and we got burned. No, we got scalded.”
Among the Baylor superlatives:
- First FBS team since LSU in 1930 to open a season with 60-plus points in three straight games.
- First FBS team in at least two decades to score 28 or more points in the first quarter of three straight games.
- First-quarter scoring average of 30.3 is better than the total points 57 FBS teams average for a game, and Baylor’s 47.6 first-half average beats all but what seven FBS teams average for a game.
- Twenty-five touchdown drives averaging 4.6 plays, 62.4 yards and 1 minute, 5 seconds in duration. Only one has taken more than two minutes.
Baylor’s seven-game winning streak dating to last year ties Alabama for the third longest, behind Ohio State (16) and Stanford (11). No wonder Briles isn’t crazy about this week’s bye.
“We’d like to keep playing, but maybe we need some down time to get ready for conference,” he said.
Running back Lache Seastrunk, an Oregon transfer, is the big name, averaging 11 yards per carry and scoring six touchdowns to get him into the Heisman Trophy conversation that he started last December.
“Lache wants to be the most complete back in America,” Briles said.
Seastrunk’s Temple High teammate, wide receiver Tevin Reese, has 15 catches for 350 yards and three TDs.
But the hot new thing in Waco is Antwan Goodley, who has 370 yards receiving, a 26.4-yard average and four scores. The 5-foot-10-inch, 220-pound junior has an unusual body type for a wideout.
“Antwan has a unique combination of strength, speed and size,” Briles said. “You don’t see a lot of guys like that.”
Quarterback Bryce Petty has impeccable numbers — 50 of 67 for 1,001 yards with eight TDs and zero picks — but Briles wants more.
“He’s been OK,” the coach said. “Nine incompletions last week … he really shouldn’t have that many with the caliber of players around him. He’s just a three-game starter. He’ll get better.”
Tough scheduling: Under Bob Stoops, Oklahoma never shies away from the big dogs, so the coach embraces this week’s trip to South Bend to play Notre Dame.
“Our policy has worked well for us throughout the years,” Stoops said. “All things being close, you get the nod for BCS games and things like that if you’ve scheduled up. Of course, there’s always the risk you don’t win.
“But they keep saying strength of schedule will matter more when the playoffs come. To me, that’s the only way you’re going to keep these type of games. They ought to matter.”
Looking back: Texas, which couldn’t stop the run in its previous two games, held Kansas State to 115 rushing yards, but Wildcats coach Bill Snyder said he wasn’t caught off guard.
“There was no surprise factor,” he said. “They were straightforward and did what they did extremely well. We didn’t execute. They created three turnovers; we didn’t create any. We’ve been inconsistent at the line of scrimmage.”
We meet again: In a scheduling quirk, Iowa State will play Tulsa on Thursday for the third time in 391 days. The Cyclones beat the Golden Hurricane 38-23 in the 2012 season opener at Ames, then lost to Tulsa 31-17 in the Liberty Bowl. This one’s in Tulsa.
“You can be too familiar with them and outsmart yourself,” Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads said. “You know the personnel, tendencies, and can get in a comfortable position. So how much do you change things up?”
BIG 12 POWER POLL
Rank (Prev.) Team;Record;Next opponent;The skinny
1. (3) Baylor;3-0 (0-0);vs. West Virginia (2-2), Oct. 5;Any team that averages 48 points — in first half — is good enough to top our chart.
2. (1) Oklahoma State;3-0 (0-0);at West Virginia (2-2), Sat.;Pals Gundy, Holgorsen hook up, but only Cowboys coach has guns in his holster this year.
3. (2) Oklahoma;3-0 (1-0);at Notre Dame (3-1), Sat.;Sooners represent league’s last hope to knock off Top 25 nonconference opponent.
4. (4) Texas Tech;4-0 (1-0);at Kansas (2-1), Oct. 5;With Brewer healing, Red Raiders could have three-headed QB monster by time they play next.
5. (5) TCU;1-2 (0-1);vs. SMU (1-2), Sat.;Horned Frogs plan to fry Mustangs in Iron Skillet rivalry with heavy dose of ground game.
6. (8) Texas;2-2 (1-0); at Iowa State (0-2), Oct. 3;Solid win righted listing ship, but we really won’t know about turnaround until Oct. 12 in Dallas.
7. (6) Kansas State;2-2 (0-1);at Oklahoma State (3-0), Oct. 5;Loss to Cats’ usual play-toy Bevo a reminder this truly is rebuilding season for Snyder’s bunch.
8. (7) West Virginia;2-2 (0-1);vs. Oklahoma State (3-0), Sat.;Geno, Tavon, Steadman … come back! 37-0 loss to Maryland a black eye for entire league.
9. (9) Kansas;2-1 (0-0);vs. Texas Tech (4-0), Oct. 5;Jayhawks still can’t score a lick, but they’ll take rare winning record into October.
10. (10) Iowa State;0-2 (0-0); at Tulsa (1-2), Thur.;Cyclones better grab this one because next four are against Texas, Tech, Baylor and Okla. St.